Beautiful Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Dec 06, 2023

Let my people go! Vanterpool pleads for BVI’s ‘freedom’

Let my people go! Vanterpool pleads for BVI’s ‘freedom’

Fourth District Representative Mark Vanterpool has decried the Virgin Islands’ dependent status as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom (UK).
“I want to say to United Kingdom – like the Lord sent Moses to speak to Pharaoh – I want to say to the United Kingdom, let my people go,” Vanterpool stated while speaking in teh House of Assembly this week.

Vanterpool who previously called for a ‘Brexit’ from the UK, railed against the coloniser’s hold on the territory while denouncing that practice as being from a bygone era.

“I want to say to the United Kingdom that the time has come when colonialism must stop. It must be ended in the Caribbean. It must be ended all over the world,” he expressed.

Psychological whipping

And while acknowledging that BVI leaders have made mistakes in the past, Vanterpool maintained that this was no reason for the BVI to be kept as a territory, particularly since the BVI has no control of the UK’s affairs.

“We still have to be told what to do,” Vanterpool argued. “I am not asking our people to beg to let us go. I’m asking the United Kingdom to wake up with your own conscience and see that you may make mistakes as you have been doing. We may make mistakes as we have been doing. But it doesn’t mean that you (UK) have to tell us what to do, because we can’t tell you what to do.”

Drawing on imagery from the era of the Atlantic slave trade, Vanterpool insisted the BVI was being whipped psychologically.

“We are not people who can’t think for ourselves. You know, that was the hallmark of slavery. The people had to do what the master said, they couldn’t think for themselves and if they didn’t do it, they were beaten and trodden. We don’t see the whips right now [in plain sight], but the whips are there,” he argued.

I want my own UK COI

Vanterpool dismissed the recent Commission of Inquiry (COI) and its damning report which found glaring irregularities in the governance of the territory and which ultimately recommended a partial and temporary suspension of the BVI’s constitution.

He suggested that there should be a change in mindset of the territory’s leaders, whom he argued should see the territory’s potential to forge its own destiny since the BVI has been managing its own affairs for a number of years.

“They (the COI recommendations) were good things to come and highlight to us. But I want to go to the United Kingdom and have my own COI up there. I [will] be the [Gary] Hickinbottom,” Vanterpool said in an apparent reference to the UK-appointed COI Commissioner. 

Vanterpool contended that a COI was also needed on the UK’s Prime Ministers, but said persons were too afraid to talk about this.

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